I have exactly five dollars in my as-yet-to-be-determined awesomeness account.
The alarm went off right on time this morning, and I killed it pretty quickly. I've got a bad habit now of just turning my alarm off without hitting snooze. This allows me (or causes me, depending on how you look at it) to sleep uninterrupted until it's time for me to start working. However, on a morning when I actually want to wake up on time, it's not convenient.
So the time passed, and eventually I managed to get myself out of bed. And what did it for me? Five dollars. I wanted to put that five dollars aside for whatever it is I end up doing with it. It's not much money, and I don't have a specific use for it yet, but I will use it for something fun, and that was enough.
On went the shoes. I took the dog out, returned her to the wife, and then hit the road.
I haven't been out on the road for a run in some time, I'm sorry to say. The only two runs I managed to do in the last two weeks were both on the treadmill, which I'm sure is part of why it's been so difficult for me to get excited about them. Last night, I decided that I would make my run on the roads today for the two best reasons I have. Number one, it's more interesting. Number two, once I get all the way out there, there's only one way to get back.
But I forced myself to slow down. I was 40-50 seconds slower per mile than my average run thus far, because I absolutely need this leg to heal entirely. I shortened up my stride, focused on my form, and made myself go slower than I normally do.
My training is color-coded, as I believe I have mentioned before. A green run is one that is on pace to qualify for the Boston Marathon. A yellow run is one that's on pace with my goal time for the marathon. Until my leg flare up a few weeks ago, all of my runs had been in the green or yellow. Then, when I felt the pain, I had a brown run.
Browns, I'm realizing now, are not bad runs. They are runs within 30 seconds of the pace that I need to run my goal time. These are, in fact, probably the speed that I should be running most of the week anyway. And usually when I run in this color, it's because I started out a longer run in the green and burned myself out by the time I got to the end.
It's not easy for me to run browns intentionally. Ever since high school, my goal has been to run as hard as I can every time. Otherwise, there's no point, or so I thought. That's how I burned myself out before my senior year of high school and all but assured myself of the fact that I would not compete at the collegiate level. Because I only lived for the run in front of me, and not for the one after that. Now that I'm living for races several months away, I have to take better care of myself in the interim, and I have to slow it down on the training runs. I should be running brown most of the time.
So today, I kept myself in the brown. The pain still came, right on schedule, at 2 miles, but it was a dull ache, not a sharp stab, and I never had to stop. As I turned the corner for my last uphill climb, a tiny voice in my head told me to push it. A louder, meaner voice in my leg told that voice to shut up. So, I just readjusted my form, which had gotten a bit sloppy, and kept my head up and my shoulders back. I'm sure I picked up a little speed at that point, but it wasn't that I was running faster. I was running better and more efficiently, and the feet followed. Still, it wasn't a push. Today was not meant to push. Today was meant to get five dollars, and I did.
A positive aura filled my entire run this morning, and it had everything to do with how I viewed it. It wasn't a chore or a pain. It was a means to an end. Immediately, it would mean an upbeat blog post (because who wants to read about someone whining every day) and five dollars into a fund of my own. In nine weeks or so, it would also mean that I can run through the streets of Seattle with a smile, not a grimace, on my face.
And completing today's run in good time with minimal pain meant that tomorrow's run would not seem so bad, and it doesn't. In fact, it's shorter than I had to run today, and I'm not scared of it. I'm pretty sure it will hurt some, but I'll get on the road and imagine each dollar as I earn it with each step. A simple reward, to be sure, but as they say, money talks.
And I run.
78 Degrees, Humid
39 Minutes, 48 Seconds